Poem of the Week | January 03, 2022

This week’s Poem of the Week is “Driving to Buy Peaches I Pretend My Mother is Already Dead” by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick!

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick’s work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Gulf Coast Journal, Salamander Magazine, Salt Hill, Plume Poetry Journal, The Texas Observer, Plume Poetry, Four Way Review, Harpur Palate, Passages North, among others. Hardwick serves as the poetry editor for The Boiler Journal.


Driving to Buy Peaches I Pretend My Mother is Already Dead

I was thirteen when she stopped
on the side of the road
to buy peaches

in the hill country.
I thought I was angry
at everyone—

her, especially.
She said, Eat one.
The sun setting.

Whatever. I said nothing
to hurt her. You’ll miss me
when I’m dead

and gone. Eat one.
The sun setting.

Forgive me.
I was broken by someone
already. She didn’t know

any gesture, especially
those sweet peaches,
made me angry
at everyone.


Author’s Note

Poetry, to me, can be means of communicating into spaces that feel impossible. I turned to poetry as a child to express myself, but I did not realize how much I left unsaid. Teenagers and pre-teens have this stigma of being difficult. I wanted to dig deeper into an instance of that playing out but go beyond focusing on the teenager and zoom out on the mother, as well. Now, as a mother to a daughter myself, the frustration of what was left unsaid is even more palpable.